That dollar amount reflects a 28.3% expansion from $9.1 billion in 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of Zambia’s exported products increased by 4.2% compared to $11.2 billion during 2021.
Applying a continental lens, 39.5% of Zambia’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 25.9% were sold to importers in Africa. Zambia shipped 21.3% worth of goods to Asia, with another 12.8% going to Oceania’s Pitcairn and Australia.
Smaller percentages were sold to North America (0.5%) and Latin America (0.03%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Zambia’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Zambia’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Zambian shipments by dollar value during 2022. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Zambian exports.
- Switzerland: US$4.5 billion (38.5% of total Zambian exports)
- mainland China: $2.4 billion (20.7%)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: $1.6 billion (13.6%)
- Pitcairn: $1.5 billion (12.8%)
- Equatorial Guinea: $636.9 million (5.4%)
- South Africa: $268.7 million (2.3%)
- Zimbabwe: $265.1 million (2.3%)
- Namibia: $117.1 million (1%)
- Botswana: $62.7 million (0.5%)
- United States of America: $53.5 million (0.5%)
- United Arab Emirates: $36.5 million (0.3%)
- Germany: $27.6 million (0.2%)
- Burundi: $26.5 million (0.2%)
- United Kingdom: $21.8 million (0.2%)
- Belgium: $21.8 million (0.2%)
- Congo: $20.5 million (0.2%)
- Pakistan: $17.6 million (0.2%)
- Spain: $14.1 million (0.1%)
- Austria: $13.3 million (0.1%)
- Vietnam: $10.9 million (0.1%)
- Angola: $6.8 million (0.1%)
- Tanzania: $5.1 million (0.04%)
- Egypt: $4.3 million (0.04%)
- Malawi: $2.8 million (0.02%)
- France: $1.8 million (0.02%)
At 99.6%, a high concentration of Zambian exports in 2022 was delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Posting the greatest percentage increases in their purchases of exported goods from Zambia were Austria (up 136.4% from 2021), Angola (up 136.4%), Congo (up 118.7%), Egypt (up 103.2%), United Kingdom (up 77.8%), then France (up 51.3%).
Double-digit declines were recorded by buyers in Malawi (down -97.7%), Tanzania (down -94.2%) and Vietnam (down -11.3%).
Countries Causing Largest Zambian Trade Deficits
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Zambia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- South Africa: -US$2.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2022)
- Equatorial Guinea: -$1.3 billion
- United Arab Emirates: -$650.5 million
- United States of America: -$191.4 million
- United Kingdom: -$141.9 million
- Belgium: -$96.3 million
- Germany: -$79.4 million
- France: -$51.4 million
- Finland: -$44.7 million
- Chile: -$31.8 million
Among Zambia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Zambian deficits with Belgium (up 213.5%), United Kingdom (up 44.4%) and France (up 29%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Zambia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Zambia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating Largest Zambian Trade Surpluses
Overall Zambia posted a $2.6 billion trade surplus during 2022, down by -35.7% from $4.1 billion in black ink for 2021.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Zambia earned the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Switzerland: US$4.5 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2022)
- Pitcairn: $1.04 billion
- mainland China: $1.01 billion
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: $934.6 million
- Zimbabwe: $175 million
- Namibia: $117.1 million
- Burundi: $26.5 million
- Congo: $20.3 million
- Angola: $6.6 million
- Austria: $6.3 million
Among Zambia’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Zambian surpluses with Angola (up 2,860%), Austria (up 157.5%) and Congo (up 117.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
Zambia also transitioned from a -$36.3 million deficit in 2021 trading with Namibia to generating the trade surplus listed above.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Zambia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Zambia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Zambian Trading Partners
Not one Zambian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exporters from Zambia including companies engaged in international trade. Selected examples are shown below.
- Chilanga Cement (cement, cement clinker)
- Konkola Copper Mines (copper mining, smelter)
- Zambeef Products (beef, milk, eggs)
- Zambezi Airlines (airliner)
- Zambian Breweries Plc (lagers, bottling)
- ZCCM Investments Holdings (copper-mining conglomerate)
See also Uganda’s Top 10 Exports, Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports, South Africa’s Top 10 Exports and Zambia’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: Zambia. Accessed on June 28, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 28, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 28, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 28, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Zambia. Accessed on June 28, 2023
Wikipedia, Zambia. Accessed on June 28, 2023